Thinking about buying some new stuff for your studio? I’ve got news for you: you probably don’t deserve it. Sound harsh? Well, maybe I’m being a bit sarcastic today, but I actually do have a helpful point to make.
More often than not, we lust after a piece of gear (hardware or software) thinking it would make our music better or at least make us feel cooler, when all the while we haven’t produced much music on our current setup to warrant the cost. Hear me out on this…
When Was The Last Project You Finished?
I’m assuming you already own some studio equipment. A computer, an audio interface, a microphone or two, etc. Have you made any music with it yet? Ok, good. When was the last project you finished? A month ago? Six months ago? Last year? Here’s a better question: how many projects have you produced with your current studio setup, ever? Five? Three? One even?!
There is absolutely no reason I can think of to warrant purchasing more gear if you haven’t used it on at least three projects in your studio. There’s really just no way to even make an accurate assessment of it’s usefulness or whether or not you like it. There is a learning curve inherent in most things and it takes actually working on (and finishing) a handful of projects to really learn the strengths and weaknesses of a piece of kit.
Our Gear Obsession
You see, all of us (and I do mean all of us) struggle to some degree with what my buddy Joe Gilder calls Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.). We’re obsessed with buying new gear. In fact I would submit that some of you out there actually prefer talking about, reading about, and purchasing new studio gear more than actually making music! It’s crazy, I know.
Recording magazines and internet forums are partly to blame. There is a plethora of advertisements and people screaming at you “Your mixes need this in order to be great.” It’s really hard not to believe them. Honestly. Pair that constant message of discontentment and the lure of the home studio promised land wrapped up with our innate gear obsession, we begin searching for the next thing.
What If You Could Only Ever Have What You Already Have?
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What if the only studio gear you could ever have is the gear you currently own? Could you make great records? Could you produce powerful, inspiring music? I believe so, 100%. You would find a way. You would learn your gear inside and out. You would learn this craft inside and out. You would potentially be limited, sure, but that would have no bearing on your final product.
You see, it’s not the gear that makes recordings, it’s you. It’s me. You and I, we have to get better at this recording and mixing thing. We don’t deserve to buy more gear, or newer gear, or “better” gear. We should be grateful for what we have and simply get to work. Am I against you ever buying something new in the future? Of course not. I buy gear as my studio and work needs change.
My point is to really think long and hard about where your heart is when it comes to studio gear. Your wallet and your recordings might just be a litter fatter and a little more awesome if you do.